• Sass Mouth Dames Film Club Series 11

    Brooks Hotel

    Sass Mouth Dames Film Club Series 11: Megan McGurk presents four pre-Code smashers from 1932. Tickets available through Eventbrite, 5 August. Blondie of the Follies (1932) As Blondie McClune, Marion Davies has only one dress to her name. Although she saves money for a new one, her mother needs the cash to pay rent. Blondie’s oldest friend, Lurleen Cavanaugh, played by Billie Dove, lives in the same cold-water tenement, but soon moves into a penthouse after she lands a spot in the Follies, thanks to her ability to wear a skirt made of pearls. Lurleen changes her name to Lottie and develops notions. The story by Frances Marion and dialogue by Anita Loos captures a passionate rivalry between women who can't wait to shed their origins. And Marion’s impression of Greta Garbo is not to be missed. Forbidden (1932) In his memoir, Frank Capra described his goal as a director: ‘I would sing the songs of the working stiffs, of the short-changed Joes, the born poor, the afflicted. I would gamble with the long-shot players who light candles in the wind, and resent with the pushed-around because of race or birth. Above all, I would fight for their causes on the screens of the world.’ Capra also included the pushed-around Janes of the world in his pictures. He made five of them starring Barbara Stanwyck. In Forbidden, Capra’s answer to Back Street (1932), Stanwyck plays a small-town librarian. Tired of dull routine, Stanwyck longs for adventure. She cashes in her savings for a new wardrobe and lavish cruise, where she hooks up with a married man. Will she be content as a mistress? Merrily We Go to Hell (1932) Dorothy Arzner’s cautionary tale shows women why they should avoid a hasty marriage to a random lad from a party. Arzner’s picture scuppers the romantic myth that women can save men from themselves. Sylvia Sidney stars as a socialite who falls for a dissolute writer, played by Fredric March. Each time he proves unworthy, she ignores the facts. What happens when she agrees to a modern marriage on his terms? James Baldwin once wrote that Sylvia Sidney ‘was the only American film actress who reminded me of reality’. Sylvia Sidney bore her share of troubles onscreen with an angelic grace that was the antithesis of hardboiled dames from the pre-Code era. Shanghai Express (1932) Series 11 closes with the top-grossing film from a stellar year of pre-Code woman’s pictures. Nominated for Best Picture and Best Director, it won for Best Cinematography from Lee Garmes. In an elaborate feathered costume designed by Travis Banton, Marlene looks like an exotic bird who longs for wings fast enough to carry her away from men. You can’t beat Dietrich and von Sternberg for style, mood, and dramatic atmosphere. Anna May Wong gives a standout supporting performance.

    2
  • Sass Mouth Dames Film Club Series 11

    Brooks Hotel

    Sass Mouth Dames Film Club Series 11: Megan McGurk presents four pre-Code smashers from 1932. Tickets available through Eventbrite, 5 August. Blondie of the Follies (1932) As Blondie McClune, Marion Davies has only one dress to her name. Although she saves money for a new one, her mother needs the cash to pay rent. Blondie’s oldest friend, Lurleen Cavanaugh, played by Billie Dove, lives in the same cold-water tenement, but soon moves into a penthouse after she lands a spot in the Follies, thanks to her ability to wear a skirt made of pearls. Lurleen changes her name to Lottie and develops notions. The story by Frances Marion and dialogue by Anita Loos captures a passionate rivalry between women who can't wait to shed their origins. And Marion’s impression of Greta Garbo is not to be missed. Forbidden (1932) In his memoir, Frank Capra described his goal as a director: ‘I would sing the songs of the working stiffs, of the short-changed Joes, the born poor, the afflicted. I would gamble with the long-shot players who light candles in the wind, and resent with the pushed-around because of race or birth. Above all, I would fight for their causes on the screens of the world.’ Capra also included the pushed-around Janes of the world in his pictures. He made five of them starring Barbara Stanwyck. In Forbidden, Capra’s answer to Back Street (1932), Stanwyck plays a small-town librarian. Tired of dull routine, Stanwyck longs for adventure. She cashes in her savings for a new wardrobe and lavish cruise, where she hooks up with a married man. Will she be content as a mistress? Merrily We Go to Hell (1932) Dorothy Arzner’s cautionary tale shows women why they should avoid a hasty marriage to a random lad from a party. Arzner’s picture scuppers the romantic myth that women can save men from themselves. Sylvia Sidney stars as a socialite who falls for a dissolute writer, played by Fredric March. Each time he proves unworthy, she ignores the facts. What happens when she agrees to a modern marriage on his terms? James Baldwin once wrote that Sylvia Sidney ‘was the only American film actress who reminded me of reality’. Sylvia Sidney bore her share of troubles onscreen with an angelic grace that was the antithesis of hardboiled dames from the pre-Code era. Shanghai Express (1932) Series 11 closes with the top-grossing film from a stellar year of pre-Code woman’s pictures. Nominated for Best Picture and Best Director, it won for Best Cinematography from Lee Garmes. In an elaborate feathered costume designed by Travis Banton, Marlene looks like an exotic bird who longs for wings fast enough to carry her away from men. You can’t beat Dietrich and von Sternberg for style, mood, and dramatic atmosphere. Anna May Wong gives a standout supporting performance.

    2
  • Sass Mouth Dames Film Club--One Night Only

    Brooks Hotel

    Join Megan McGurk for a once-off summer night for Sass Mouth Dames Film Club. The More the Merrier (1943), screens Thursday, 27 June. In this war-time screwball comedy, you could mistake the housing crisis in Washington D.C. for the current situation in Dublin. Jean Arthur advertises a flatshare which results in a queue down the block, an all too familiar sight today. Jean gets more than she bargains for when an elderly gent (Charles Coburn) insists on taking the vacancy. Things grow more complicated when he rents half of his room to tall drink of man-water, Joel McCrea. When a swoon merchant and his propeller take up residence, a sass mouth dame falls hard. Tickets through Eventbrite: https://tinyurl.com/y66u7tsv The regular film club series returns in September.

    7
  • Sass Mouth Dames Film Club Series 10

    Brooks Hotel

    Join Megan McGurk Thursdays in May: Hands Across the Table (1935) 2 May Ernst Lubitsch believed Norman Krasna’s script was the hottest comedy in Hollywood. He selected Hands Across the Table to be the first project he supervised in his new role as head of production for Paramount studio, lending his famed ‘Lubitsch touch’ for the benefit of director Mitch Leisen. Carole Lombard plays a manicurist on the hunt for a rich husband. Even though her client Ralph Bellamy is wealthy and uses any excuse to summon the lithe blonde who will gently soak his mitts in a bowl of water, Carole considers him only a friend. Instead, she falls for another client, Fred MacMurray, who has a society name but no money. What happens when sass mouth meets scapegrace? Does she marry for love or money? Theodora Goes Wild (1936) 9 May Upstanding women of the Lynnefield Literary Society disapprove of a bestselling book, excerpts of which are printed in the local paper. In a letter of protest, one member dismisses the scandalous novel as ‘sexy trash’. What the ladies don’t know is that one of their own penned the bodice-ripper under a pen name, Caroline Adams. Quiet, unassuming Theodora Lynn, played by Irene Dunne, wrote the book that the ladies want banned. During a secret trip into the city to meet with her publisher, an illustrator (Melvyn Douglas) figures out who she really is and pressures Theodora to stop hiding from the town’s disapproval. Why not discard a proper reputation if she longs to be called ‘baby’? But what if Theodora gives him a taste of his own medicine? Woman Chases Man (1937) 16 May Miriam Hopkins plays an architect who charges into a wealthy developer’s office (Charles Winninger) with a pitch for a new social housing scheme. When he attempts to get rid of her, she passes out cold, woozy from two days without eating. Depression-era woman’s pictures contain numerous scenes of women who faint from hunger, but a Southern belle like Miriam has a stylish fit of vapours. After he revives her with food, they hatch a plan that will make his son (Joel McCrea) finance their project. Once she sees McCrea, business seems less important than being in his arms. If Miriam were not already a sass mouth MVP, she would certainly win the honour with her Pre-Code gangster impression. Midnight (1939) 23 May Forget the fairy tale about a dame in a poufy dress and glass slippers. Legendary screenwriters Charles Brackett and Billy Wilder update the Cinderella story for Claudette Colbert, who plays a former chorine down on her luck. She rolls into Paris with nothing but a gold lamé gown and a ticket from the municipal pawn shop in Monte Carlo. As luck would have it, she crashes a society party where John Barrymore notices the interloper. He waggles those bushy eyebrows and offers his services as a would-be fairy godfather, outfitting her with trunks of fabulous clothes and a line of credit. All she has to do is pretend to be an aristocrat and distract a gigolo away from his wife, played by Mary Astor. In the middle of this, Don Ameche plays a taxi driver who starts a city-wide search party among his fellow cabbies to find the woman he fell for—the dame in the gold dress. Cluny Brown (1946) 30 May In the title role, nothing gets Jennifer Jones more excited than a clogged sink. When she looks at a sink full of water and vegetable scraps, Cluny Brown rolls up her sleeves. With a large wrench in hand, she bangs away at a pipe until the blockage drains. But her guardian uncle thinks it’s undignified and tells her to learn her place, which he decides should be working as a housemaid in the country. The only person who supports Cluny’s desire to serve the pipes is Charles Boyer, the king of the swoon merchants, a man who could charm the tail from a fox. On the surface, Ernst Lubitsch’s picture is about a gal’s dream of being a plumber; more importantly, it’s an impassioned clarion call for being true to one’s self above all.

    2
  • Sass Mouth Dames Film Club Series 10

    Brooks Hotel

    Join Megan McGurk Thursdays in May: Hands Across the Table (1935) 2 May Ernst Lubitsch believed Norman Krasna’s script was the hottest comedy in Hollywood. He selected Hands Across the Table to be the first project he supervised in his new role as head of production for Paramount studio, lending his famed ‘Lubitsch touch’ for the benefit of director Mitch Leisen. Carole Lombard plays a manicurist on the hunt for a rich husband. Even though her client Ralph Bellamy is wealthy and uses any excuse to summon the lithe blonde who will gently soak his mitts in a bowl of water, Carole considers him only a friend. Instead, she falls for another client, Fred MacMurray, who has a society name but no money. What happens when sass mouth meets scapegrace? Does she marry for love or money? Theodora Goes Wild (1936) 9 May Upstanding women of the Lynnefield Literary Society disapprove of a bestselling book, excerpts of which are printed in the local paper. In a letter of protest, one member dismisses the scandalous novel as ‘sexy trash’. What the ladies don’t know is that one of their own penned the bodice-ripper under a pen name, Caroline Adams. Quiet, unassuming Theodora Lynn, played by Irene Dunne, wrote the book that the ladies want banned. During a secret trip into the city to meet with her publisher, an illustrator (Melvyn Douglas) figures out who she really is and pressures Theodora to stop hiding from the town’s disapproval. Why not discard a proper reputation if she longs to be called ‘baby’? But what if Theodora gives him a taste of his own medicine? Woman Chases Man (1937) 16 May Miriam Hopkins plays an architect who charges into a wealthy developer’s office (Charles Winninger) with a pitch for a new social housing scheme. When he attempts to get rid of her, she passes out cold, woozy from two days without eating. Depression-era woman’s pictures contain numerous scenes of women who faint from hunger, but a Southern belle like Miriam has a stylish fit of vapours. After he revives her with food, they hatch a plan that will make his son (Joel McCrea) finance their project. Once she sees McCrea, business seems less important than being in his arms. If Miriam were not already a sass mouth MVP, she would certainly win the honour with her Pre-Code gangster impression. Midnight (1939) 23 May Forget the fairy tale about a dame in a poufy dress and glass slippers. Legendary screenwriters Charles Brackett and Billy Wilder update the Cinderella story for Claudette Colbert, who plays a former chorine down on her luck. She rolls into Paris with nothing but a gold lamé gown and a ticket from the municipal pawn shop in Monte Carlo. As luck would have it, she crashes a society party where John Barrymore notices the interloper. He waggles those bushy eyebrows and offers his services as a would-be fairy godfather, outfitting her with trunks of fabulous clothes and a line of credit. All she has to do is pretend to be an aristocrat and distract a gigolo away from his wife, played by Mary Astor. In the middle of this, Don Ameche plays a taxi driver who starts a city-wide search party among his fellow cabbies to find the woman he fell for—the dame in the gold dress. Cluny Brown (1946) 30 May In the title role, nothing gets Jennifer Jones more excited than a clogged sink. When she looks at a sink full of water and vegetable scraps, Cluny Brown rolls up her sleeves. With a large wrench in hand, she bangs away at a pipe until the blockage drains. But her guardian uncle thinks it’s undignified and tells her to learn her place, which he decides should be working as a housemaid in the country. The only person who supports Cluny’s desire to serve the pipes is Charles Boyer, the king of the swoon merchants, a man who could charm the tail from a fox. On the surface, Ernst Lubitsch’s picture is about a gal’s dream of being a plumber; more importantly, it’s an impassioned clarion call for being true to one’s self above all.

  • Sass Mouth Dames Film Club Series 10

    Brooks Hotel

    Join Megan McGurk Thursdays in May: Hands Across the Table (1935) 2 May Ernst Lubitsch believed Norman Krasna’s script was the hottest comedy in Hollywood. He selected Hands Across the Table to be the first project he supervised in his new role as head of production for Paramount studio, lending his famed ‘Lubitsch touch’ for the benefit of director Mitch Leisen. Carole Lombard plays a manicurist on the hunt for a rich husband. Even though her client Ralph Bellamy is wealthy and uses any excuse to summon the lithe blonde who will gently soak his mitts in a bowl of water, Carole considers him only a friend. Instead, she falls for another client, Fred MacMurray, who has a society name but no money. What happens when sass mouth meets scapegrace? Does she marry for love or money? Theodora Goes Wild (1936) 9 May Upstanding women of the Lynnefield Literary Society disapprove of a bestselling book, excerpts of which are printed in the local paper. In a letter of protest, one member dismisses the scandalous novel as ‘sexy trash’. What the ladies don’t know is that one of their own penned the bodice-ripper under a pen name, Caroline Adams. Quiet, unassuming Theodora Lynn, played by Irene Dunne, wrote the book that the ladies want banned. During a secret trip into the city to meet with her publisher, an illustrator (Melvyn Douglas) figures out who she really is and pressures Theodora to stop hiding from the town’s disapproval. Why not discard a proper reputation if she longs to be called ‘baby’? But what if Theodora gives him a taste of his own medicine? Woman Chases Man (1937) 16 May Miriam Hopkins plays an architect who charges into a wealthy developer’s office (Charles Winninger) with a pitch for a new social housing scheme. When he attempts to get rid of her, she passes out cold, woozy from two days without eating. Depression-era woman’s pictures contain numerous scenes of women who faint from hunger, but a Southern belle like Miriam has a stylish fit of vapours. After he revives her with food, they hatch a plan that will make his son (Joel McCrea) finance their project. Once she sees McCrea, business seems less important than being in his arms. If Miriam were not already a sass mouth MVP, she would certainly win the honour with her Pre-Code gangster impression. Midnight (1939) 23 May Forget the fairy tale about a dame in a poufy dress and glass slippers. Legendary screenwriters Charles Brackett and Billy Wilder update the Cinderella story for Claudette Colbert, who plays a former chorine down on her luck. She rolls into Paris with nothing but a gold lamé gown and a ticket from the municipal pawn shop in Monte Carlo. As luck would have it, she crashes a society party where John Barrymore notices the interloper. He waggles those bushy eyebrows and offers his services as a would-be fairy godfather, outfitting her with trunks of fabulous clothes and a line of credit. All she has to do is pretend to be an aristocrat and distract a gigolo away from his wife, played by Mary Astor. In the middle of this, Don Ameche plays a taxi driver who starts a city-wide search party among his fellow cabbies to find the woman he fell for—the dame in the gold dress. Cluny Brown (1946) 30 May In the title role, nothing gets Jennifer Jones more excited than a clogged sink. When she looks at a sink full of water and vegetable scraps, Cluny Brown rolls up her sleeves. With a large wrench in hand, she bangs away at a pipe until the blockage drains. But her guardian uncle thinks it’s undignified and tells her to learn her place, which he decides should be working as a housemaid in the country. The only person who supports Cluny’s desire to serve the pipes is Charles Boyer, the king of the swoon merchants, a man who could charm the tail from a fox. On the surface, Ernst Lubitsch’s picture is about a gal’s dream of being a plumber; more importantly, it’s an impassioned clarion call for being true to one’s self above all.

    2
  • Sass Mouth Dames Film Club Series 10

    Brooks Hotel

    Join Megan McGurk Thursdays in May: Hands Across the Table (1935) 2 May Ernst Lubitsch believed Norman Krasna’s script was the hottest comedy in Hollywood. He selected Hands Across the Table to be the first project he supervised in his new role as head of production for Paramount studio, lending his famed ‘Lubitsch touch’ for the benefit of director Mitch Leisen. Carole Lombard plays a manicurist on the hunt for a rich husband. Even though her client Ralph Bellamy is wealthy and uses any excuse to summon the lithe blonde who will gently soak his mitts in a bowl of water, Carole considers him only a friend. Instead, she falls for another client, Fred MacMurray, who has a society name but no money. What happens when sass mouth meets scapegrace? Does she marry for love or money? Theodora Goes Wild (1936) 9 May Upstanding women of the Lynnefield Literary Society disapprove of a bestselling book, excerpts of which are printed in the local paper. In a letter of protest, one member dismisses the scandalous novel as ‘sexy trash’. What the ladies don’t know is that one of their own penned the bodice-ripper under a pen name, Caroline Adams. Quiet, unassuming Theodora Lynn, played by Irene Dunne, wrote the book that the ladies want banned. During a secret trip into the city to meet with her publisher, an illustrator (Melvyn Douglas) figures out who she really is and pressures Theodora to stop hiding from the town’s disapproval. Why not discard a proper reputation if she longs to be called ‘baby’? But what if Theodora gives him a taste of his own medicine? Woman Chases Man (1937) 16 May Miriam Hopkins plays an architect who charges into a wealthy developer’s office (Charles Winninger) with a pitch for a new social housing scheme. When he attempts to get rid of her, she passes out cold, woozy from two days without eating. Depression-era woman’s pictures contain numerous scenes of women who faint from hunger, but a Southern belle like Miriam has a stylish fit of vapours. After he revives her with food, they hatch a plan that will make his son (Joel McCrea) finance their project. Once she sees McCrea, business seems less important than being in his arms. If Miriam were not already a sass mouth MVP, she would certainly win the honour with her Pre-Code gangster impression. Midnight (1939) 23 May Forget the fairy tale about a dame in a poufy dress and glass slippers. Legendary screenwriters Charles Brackett and Billy Wilder update the Cinderella story for Claudette Colbert, who plays a former chorine down on her luck. She rolls into Paris with nothing but a gold lamé gown and a ticket from the municipal pawn shop in Monte Carlo. As luck would have it, she crashes a society party where John Barrymore notices the interloper. He waggles those bushy eyebrows and offers his services as a would-be fairy godfather, outfitting her with trunks of fabulous clothes and a line of credit. All she has to do is pretend to be an aristocrat and distract a gigolo away from his wife, played by Mary Astor. In the middle of this, Don Ameche plays a taxi driver who starts a city-wide search party among his fellow cabbies to find the woman he fell for—the dame in the gold dress. Cluny Brown (1946) 30 May In the title role, nothing gets Jennifer Jones more excited than a clogged sink. When she looks at a sink full of water and vegetable scraps, Cluny Brown rolls up her sleeves. With a large wrench in hand, she bangs away at a pipe until the blockage drains. But her guardian uncle thinks it’s undignified and tells her to learn her place, which he decides should be working as a housemaid in the country. The only person who supports Cluny’s desire to serve the pipes is Charles Boyer, the king of the swoon merchants, a man who could charm the tail from a fox. On the surface, Ernst Lubitsch’s picture is about a gal’s dream of being a plumber; more importantly, it’s an impassioned clarion call for being true to one’s self above all.

    1
  • Sass Mouth Dames Film Club Series 10

    Brooks Hotel

    Join Megan McGurk Thursdays in May: Hands Across the Table (1935) 2 May Ernst Lubitsch believed Norman Krasna’s script was the hottest comedy in Hollywood. He selected Hands Across the Table to be the first project he supervised in his new role as head of production for Paramount studio, lending his famed ‘Lubitsch touch’ for the benefit of director Mitch Leisen. Carole Lombard plays a manicurist on the hunt for a rich husband. Even though her client Ralph Bellamy is wealthy and uses any excuse to summon the lithe blonde who will gently soak his mitts in a bowl of water, Carole considers him only a friend. Instead, she falls for another client, Fred MacMurray, who has a society name but no money. What happens when sass mouth meets scapegrace? Does she marry for love or money? Theodora Goes Wild (1936) 9 May Upstanding women of the Lynnefield Literary Society disapprove of a bestselling book, excerpts of which are printed in the local paper. In a letter of protest, one member dismisses the scandalous novel as ‘sexy trash’. What the ladies don’t know is that one of their own penned the bodice-ripper under a pen name, Caroline Adams. Quiet, unassuming Theodora Lynn, played by Irene Dunne, wrote the book that the ladies want banned. During a secret trip into the city to meet with her publisher, an illustrator (Melvyn Douglas) figures out who she really is and pressures Theodora to stop hiding from the town’s disapproval. Why not discard a proper reputation if she longs to be called ‘baby’? But what if Theodora gives him a taste of his own medicine? Woman Chases Man (1937) 16 May Miriam Hopkins plays an architect who charges into a wealthy developer’s office (Charles Winninger) with a pitch for a new social housing scheme. When he attempts to get rid of her, she passes out cold, woozy from two days without eating. Depression-era woman’s pictures contain numerous scenes of women who faint from hunger, but a Southern belle like Miriam has a stylish fit of vapours. After he revives her with food, they hatch a plan that will make his son (Joel McCrea) finance their project. Once she sees McCrea, business seems less important than being in his arms. If Miriam were not already a sass mouth MVP, she would certainly win the honour with her Pre-Code gangster impression. Midnight (1939) 23 May Forget the fairy tale about a dame in a poufy dress and glass slippers. Legendary screenwriters Charles Brackett and Billy Wilder update the Cinderella story for Claudette Colbert, who plays a former chorine down on her luck. She rolls into Paris with nothing but a gold lamé gown and a ticket from the municipal pawn shop in Monte Carlo. As luck would have it, she crashes a society party where John Barrymore notices the interloper. He waggles those bushy eyebrows and offers his services as a would-be fairy godfather, outfitting her with trunks of fabulous clothes and a line of credit. All she has to do is pretend to be an aristocrat and distract a gigolo away from his wife, played by Mary Astor. In the middle of this, Don Ameche plays a taxi driver who starts a city-wide search party among his fellow cabbies to find the woman he fell for—the dame in the gold dress. Cluny Brown (1946) 30 May In the title role, nothing gets Jennifer Jones more excited than a clogged sink. When she looks at a sink full of water and vegetable scraps, Cluny Brown rolls up her sleeves. With a large wrench in hand, she bangs away at a pipe until the blockage drains. But her guardian uncle thinks it’s undignified and tells her to learn her place, which he decides should be working as a housemaid in the country. The only person who supports Cluny’s desire to serve the pipes is Charles Boyer, the king of the swoon merchants, a man who could charm the tail from a fox. On the surface, Ernst Lubitsch’s picture is about a gal’s dream of being a plumber; more importantly, it’s an impassioned clarion call for being true to one’s self above all.

    3
  • Sass Mouth Dames Film Club Series 9

    Brooks Hotel

    Megan McGurk introduces four Pre-Code woman’s pictures, Thursdays in March in the Brooks Hotel Cinema, Drury Street, Dublin. Popcorn included! Tickets available through Eventbrite on 2 February, 2019. Girls About Town (1931) 7 March Series 9 opens and closes with Kay Francis, because she was top of the box office during the Pre-Code era, playing a wide range of complex women. Here she plays a clip joint hostess along with Lilyan Tashman. They breakfast at twilight on aspirin and juice before they empty men’s pockets for a living. Kay Francis complains about the middle-class Babbitt types who paw the gals and tear their dresses each night, so she decides to go straight for Joel McCrea. Lilyan Tashman, with a smooth mercenary platinum wave and a caramel-coated purr in her voice, evens the score with wisecracks. George Cukor proves he had a gift for directing women in this early-career gem. Midnight Mary (1933) 14 March In Pre-Codes, one of the biggest themes was ‘the kept woman’. Sometimes it worked out, as it did for Joan Crawford, who trades a love nest for marriage and respectability with Clark Gable in Possessed (1931). Then other times, as with Loretta Young in this picture, she realises that while she reads books written in the Enlightenment era, she’s embroiled with a mug from the criminal rackets (Ricardo Cortez). Loretta decides that being poor isn’t half as bad as being kept by louse. All she wants is a good job. Enter Franchot Tone, in one of his best society roles, trading quips with a scandalised butler. Una Merkel, as Loretta’s sidekick, plays an unabashedly greedy dame, and is wonderful, as always. William Wellman’s innovative work as director exhibits great care for the subject matter. Female (1933) 21 March Don’t get the impression that women in Pre-Codes were all sex workers or fallen women. Sometimes they were the brains behind the rackets (Joan Crawford in Paid, from 1930, or Joan Blondell in Blondie Johnson, from 1933), or a magazine editor (Kay Francis in Man Wanted, 1932), a social worker and best-selling author (Irene Dunne in Ann Vickers, 1933) or even head of a factory. In Female, Ruth Chatterton plays the boss of an automobile company. In her downtime, she unwinds with casual sex, often with the men who are on her payroll. If men complain, or want anything more intimate than a fling, they can expect a pink slip in their pay packet. Ruth Chatterton looks supremely comfortable behind a huge desk in a corner office wearing enviable suits and frocks. George Brent is the one man able to resist her terms. Chatterton and Brent were married in real life at this time, and their passion for one another shows. Director Michael Curtiz crafts one of the most significant films about sex and power ever produced by Hollywood. Mandalay (1934) 28 March What do you do when your lover commits the ultimate betrayal? Kay Francis is woefully unprepared for the moment when Ricardo Cortez uses her as payment to settle his debts with a brothel owner. Abandoned and devastated, Kay heeds advice from the brothel’s madame, who reasons that since a man got her into trouble, she should use them for a way out. With hair like an Art Deco sculpture, and exquisite outfits, Kay transforms herself into ‘Spot White’, a sensation every man must have. If the Academy Awards had acknowledged costume design (they didn’t until 1948), Orry-Kelly’s glamorous ensembles would have been hard to beat. Director Michael Curtiz helms a picture that celebrates resourceful sass mouth dames. Tickets: https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/sass-mouth-dames-film-club-series-9-tickets-55630317778?utm-medium=discovery&utm-campaign=social&utm-content=attendeeshare&aff=escb&utm-source=cp&utm-term=listing

    3
  • Sass Mouth Dames Film Club Series 9

    Brooks Hotel

    Megan McGurk introduces four Pre-Code woman’s pictures, Thursdays in March in the Brooks Hotel Cinema, Drury Street, Dublin. Popcorn included! Tickets available through Eventbrite on 2 February, 2019. Girls About Town (1931) 7 March Series 9 opens and closes with Kay Francis, because she was top of the box office during the Pre-Code era, playing a wide range of complex women. Here she plays a clip joint hostess along with Lilyan Tashman. They breakfast at twilight on aspirin and juice before they empty men’s pockets for a living. Kay Francis complains about the middle-class Babbitt types who paw the gals and tear their dresses each night, so she decides to go straight for Joel McCrea. Lilyan Tashman, with a smooth mercenary platinum wave and a caramel-coated purr in her voice, evens the score with wisecracks. George Cukor proves he had a gift for directing women in this early-career gem. Midnight Mary (1933) 14 March In Pre-Codes, one of the biggest themes was ‘the kept woman’. Sometimes it worked out, as it did for Joan Crawford, who trades a love nest for marriage and respectability with Clark Gable in Possessed (1931). Then other times, as with Loretta Young in this picture, she realises that while she reads books written in the Enlightenment era, she’s embroiled with a mug from the criminal rackets (Ricardo Cortez). Loretta decides that being poor isn’t half as bad as being kept by louse. All she wants is a good job. Enter Franchot Tone, in one of his best society roles, trading quips with a scandalised butler. Una Merkel, as Loretta’s sidekick, plays an unabashedly greedy dame, and is wonderful, as always. William Wellman’s innovative work as director exhibits great care for the subject matter. Female (1933) 21 March Don’t get the impression that women in Pre-Codes were all sex workers or fallen women. Sometimes they were the brains behind the rackets (Joan Crawford in Paid, from 1930, or Joan Blondell in Blondie Johnson, from 1933), or a magazine editor (Kay Francis in Man Wanted, 1932), a social worker and best-selling author (Irene Dunne in Ann Vickers, 1933) or even head of a factory. In Female, Ruth Chatterton plays the boss of an automobile company. In her downtime, she unwinds with casual sex, often with the men who are on her payroll. If men complain, or want anything more intimate than a fling, they can expect a pink slip in their pay packet. Ruth Chatterton looks supremely comfortable behind a huge desk in a corner office wearing enviable suits and frocks. George Brent is the one man able to resist her terms. Chatterton and Brent were married in real life at this time, and their passion for one another shows. Director Michael Curtiz crafts one of the most significant films about sex and power ever produced by Hollywood. Mandalay (1934) 28 March What do you do when your lover commits the ultimate betrayal? Kay Francis is woefully unprepared for the moment when Ricardo Cortez uses her as payment to settle his debts with a brothel owner. Abandoned and devastated, Kay heeds advice from the brothel’s madame, who reasons that since a man got her into trouble, she should use them for a way out. With hair like an Art Deco sculpture, and exquisite outfits, Kay transforms herself into ‘Spot White’, a sensation every man must have. If the Academy Awards had acknowledged costume design (they didn’t until 1948), Orry-Kelly’s glamorous ensembles would have been hard to beat. Director Michael Curtiz helms a picture that celebrates resourceful sass mouth dames. Tickets: https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/sass-mouth-dames-film-club-series-9-tickets-55630317778?utm-medium=discovery&utm-campaign=social&utm-content=attendeeshare&aff=escb&utm-source=cp&utm-term=listing

    1